Eating Well: Breakfast Burritos

What’s this?  I’m starting off the week with a recipe, instead of talking about how things went?  Well, in a word, yes.  I am.  Because this particular recipe is how my week started off, and it is part of my efforts to get back on track and eat at home (or, at least, prep my meals at home) again.  So, go ahead and read the recipe.  I’ll wait.

A Burrito To Break Your Fast

Back?  Good.  So let’s go ahead and break down the calorie content of these things.  Please note that the version I made doesn’t use milk in the scrambled eggs, and I didn’t add the green chilies, or the hash browns (I just don’t like potato in my breakfast burrito), or the red pepper.  So, how does it break down?

Well, one breakfast burrito needs one 8 inch tortilla (200 calories for the brand I used), 1 large egg (72 calories) 1 ounce of sausage (98 calories), 1/2 ounce shredded cheese (45 calories), a tablespoon of salsa (5 calories) and a small amount of red pepper and onion (negligible calories).  That’s… let’s see… 420 calories for a burrito, and they’re surprisingly hefty – I ate two for breakfast, because I like larger breakfasts and planned a lunch that’s going to come in about 500 calories anyway.

You can cut 42 calories from the recipe by using turkey sausage (or, at least, the ones I found online run about 48 calories to the ounce).  Using bacon will actually increase the calorie count by 54 (assuming a whole ounce of bacon, which is 152 calories;  if you used a single strip of bacon, however, that would actually cut 45 calories from the recipe).  Using an ounce of ham would cut 57 calories from the recipe.  And it just struck me that you could cook a ounce or two of chopped mushroom with a single strip of bacon, chop the bacon fine, and that would be amazing.

They also freeze quite well.  I wrapped the four burritos individually in tin foil and stuck them in the freezer, then unwrapped two of them and microwaved them for a total of 5 minutes (3 minutes, then turn over and microwave 2 more minutes) and they tasted just fine.  So you can make them ahead and have your own frozen breakfast ready to go.  The perfect thing, if  you’re like me and don’t like getting moving in the morning.

What’s that?  How did I do, when I weighed in?  303.0 pounds, for a two pound gain.  More or less what I figured.  But I feel really good about this week!


Busy weekend ahead

I’ve got a six-year-old, and this is why I’ll probably end up maintaining my weight this week.  See, it goes like this:  he’s got a Halloween party at his school tonight, which is full of candy and snacks and pizza.  Which I’ll probably end up eating.  And then, tomorrow, we’ve got his (soon to be) six-year-old cousin’s birthday (complete with cake and ice cream) and then another Halloween party at church.  And I believe I’m on record as saying I have little to no self-control around cake.

You know what?  I’m totally okay with this.  I don’t plan to gorge myself to the point that I lay around bloated and torpid like a python that’s just swallowed a whole pig, but I’m not going to be all austere at a party either.  Maintaining will be fine this weekend, because it’s been a rough week.  And next week, when I’ve got meals prepped in advance and microwave lunches ready to go for emergencies?

I’ll own this.

Microwaving for Health!

I bought a bunch of microwave dinners last night, which I’ll admit is a random-sounding way of starting a post.  But bear with me, because there is method to my madness.

See, I’ve been overeating a whole lot recently.  Mostly because I’ve found myself crunched for time in the morning.  And yes, I know that means that I should try to get up a little earlier.  That said, I get up at 3:30 in the morning.  I’m not going to get up earlier.  But I digress.  I get crunched for time in the morning, and so I end up racing out the door to get to work.  And then I buy breakfast out, and I buy lunch out, and next thing you know it’s 10 am and I’ve eaten 1,400 calories and I am not in the mood to wait until dinner and the vending machines are right over there and…

Well, you can see where this is going.

So, I bought some microwave meals.  Breakfast sandwiches, pasta bowls, things like that.  Most of them in the 400 to 600 calorie range.  Perhaps not the most objectively healthy things I could be eating, but you know what?  It’s planned.  It gives me something to work with, as a way of reducing the impulse purchases that happen when I’m staring at a menu and feeling hungry (and which inevitably lead to purchasing with my stomach instead of my calorie budget).

Winter is Coming…

It’s starting to get chilly out, which shouldn’t be surprising.  It’s very nearly November, after all, and I live in the northern hemisphere.

I mention this because a huge part of my exercise program is walking, and the temperature and weather impacts this.  The colder it gets, the more likely I am to stay indoors and not want to go and walk.  Exerting myself in cold air makes me cough, after all, and coughing is no fun.  Also, bundling up and then exercising makes me sweat profusely, and that just gets gross fast.  So it looks like I’ll be getting back to walking around inside my building at work, and getting stared at by people as I walk past their desks two and three times a day.  It confuses them to no end, really.

But not just yet.  Right now, it’s just dark and cool when I go out for my first morning walk.  Very relaxing, really.  Nobody else is on the nature trails, and everything looks sort of dreamlike and ethereal.  My podcasts wreck the effect slightly, but it’s still very pleasant out there in the morning twilight.  I’ll be fairly sad, once it’s too chilly to go out and do it regularly.

Perhaps not the best of strategies

I manged to hit all of my exercise goals yesterday!  Walking, workout, and stretching!  The only problem is that I finished everything up about 8 pm last night.  Which doesn’t sound like an actual problem until you consider a few points:

  1. Exercise wakes me up.
  2. I need to get up around 3:15 am

As a result, I didn’t get to sleep until around 9:30, because I was wound up and energized.  So I’m running on around  5 and a half hours of sleep, which keeps the day interesting.

The sad thing, of course, is that I’m pretty sure it will happen again today.  Why?  Because I’ve got a kindergartner who needs help (and by “help” you should read “reminding that he needs to do it”) with his homework.  And I’ve got dinner to cook, and family to spend time with, and generally I don’t have as much time to do things like work out before my son goes to bed as I’d like.

On the other hand, the whole point of doing all of this exercise and working on losing weight is to be able to do things with my family.  So, I can hardly complain that doing things with my family is interfering with my ability to exercise, can I?

Let’s Get This Started!

As of Sunday, I have officially lost 40 pounds.  That’s the good news.  The bad news, of course, is that now I weigh ‘only’ 378 pounds.

Hi there!  My name’s Richard Gant.  I’m a husband, a father of an active four-year-old, a amateur writer and guitarist, and a stockbroker.  And, as of July 15, I weighed 418 pounds.

Those were the first seven sentences I wrote, back on August 26 of last year.  The opening of the very first blog post I wrote about my weight loss journey.  It’s been almost dead on 14 months since I started this blog, and it is remarkable how much of a change I’ve seen in my life since then.  If I were to write that first blog entry today, it would look like this:

As of Sunday, I have officially lost 117.9 pounds.  That’s the good news.  The bad news, of course, is that now I weigh ‘only’ 301 pounds.

Hi there!  My name’s Richard Gant.  I’m a husband, a father of an active four-year-old, a amateur writer and guitarist, and a stockbroker.  And, as of July 15, I weighed 418 pounds.

Which is, by any stretch of the imagination, impressive.  One hundred and seventeen – almost one hundred and eighteen – pounds, in 15 months.  That’s nearly 8 pounds a month, and it’s stayed off!  That’s an achievement to be proud of, I think.

Now, here’s how I ended that first blog post:

And now, 39 days later, I’ve lost 40 pounds.  Twenty percent of the total I need to lose.  I’m already feeling better, but I’ve got a long way left to go.

But heck, I’m changing my life.  So, technically, I’ve got my whole life left to go.

Over the past few months, I think I’ve lost sight of this guiding philosophy.  Those of you who have been sharing this journey with me know that I’ve been a little down for the past few months, because I’ve been kind of stagnant in my weight loss.  For different reasons:  I’ve been hit or miss on my exercise and weight loss goals, but that’s been driven by family crises and personal health issues and whatnot.  Things that should make me willing to cut myself some slack, even though I haven’t cut myself some slack.

More than anything else, here’s the problem I’ve had:  I’ve lost sight of the fact that, when I started, I determined that this was not about ‘weight loss’.  Oh, sure, I needed to lose weight.  I still do.  But, more important, was the need to change my behavior.  The need to embrace a healthier lifestyle, to replace the unhealthy habits I’d developed with new, healthy behavior.  Because, if I did that, then the weight would follow.  And it did.

But the last few months, as I said, I’ve lost sight of that.  The scale and what it said became more important to my self-image than the fact that I could walk five and a half miles a day.  It became more important to me than the fact that I wear pants with a waist 12 inches smaller than when I started.  It became more important to me than the fact that I can sprint after my son, listening to him shriek with excitement as I shout “tickle monster” or something equally inane while playing.

In short, the weight loss became an end in and of itself, rather than a single metric that showed that I was making progress towards the actual end:  changing my life for the better.

It’s time to start fresh.  To remind myself of where I’ve been, and to get excited about where I’m going again.  Because I’ve worked hard and, as my wife reminded me when I was all miserable and depressed about this on Saturday morning, I’ve succeeded.  Even when I went off the rails, and made no progress for what felt like forever, I kept the weight off.  I may not yet be where I want to be, but I’ve succeeded.  Because I have changed my life, for the better.

On July 15, 2015, I weighed 419 pounds.  And now, 435 days later, I’ve lost 117.9 pounds.  Fifty-eight point nine five percent of the total I need to lose.  I’m already feeling better, but I’ve got a long way left to go.

But heck, I’m changing my life.  So, technically, I’ve got my whole life left to go.


I’m not feeling too confident about my weigh-in tomorrow.  Why?  Well, it’s been another rocky week.  I’ve been pretty good about hitting my exercise goals (although I missed yesterday’s, because of errands and obligations), but I’ve had no real success following my calorie budget.  Mostly because I’ve been eating out instead of brown-bagging it (the spicy chicken and black bean tacos notwithstanding), and right now I seem to have poor impulse control when it comes to eating out.  Call it a symptomatic of the things that are causing me to eat out in the first place.

On the up side, I don’t think I’ve gained anything to speak of either.  But stasis is not where I should be.  So, yet another week of sheer frustration as I spin my wheels.